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The 1908 Tunguska explosion: atmospheric disruption of a stony asteroid

Abstract

The explosion over Tunguska, Central Siberia, in 1908 released 10 to 20 megatons (high explosive equivalent) of energy at an altitude of about 10 km. This event represents a typical fate for stony asteroids tens of metres in radius entering the Earth's atmosphere at common hypersonic velocities. Comets and carbonaceous asteroids of the appropriate energy disrupt too high, whereas typical iron objects reach and crater the terrestrial surface.

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Chyba, C., Thomas, P. & Zahnle, K. The 1908 Tunguska explosion: atmospheric disruption of a stony asteroid. Nature 361, 40–44 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1038/361040a0

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